It occurs to me that the scholarly idiom in English is far too removed from its vernacular companion, as it is in Hebrew, and German (Yiddish, blessedly, still sounds like Yiddish, and French, thankfully, sounds a lot like English). Since I blogged about adumbrate, I’ve managed to include it in at least three academic papers, however not a once have I dropped it into casual speech (although, wherever appropriate, I use adumber). As much as I’d like to use it, it wouldn’t make sense for me to adumbrate the plot of a Brandy Taylor movie, or an episode of Jackass into a narrative as I hake away through my day.

Admixture is an equally highfalutin word that I’ll probably never use outside an academic paper. An admixture is, “The action or process of mingling one substance with another, or of adding as an ingredient; the fact of being so mingled;” as well as, ” That which is mixed with anything; an alloy, an alien element.” The word comes to us from the obs. admixt-v, which is just another way of saying admix-v, “To mingle with something else; to add as an ingredient.” (now rare) Admix and admixt are now rare, except for admixt-ppl.a, “Mingled with; added as an ingredient.” I like that the OED claims that a word whose last attested quote is 1803 is not rare when every other form of it is.

My favorite part of going through the OED is that you can easily see the conflation of variants into standard words. Prefixes and suffixes change and drop all the time (the ad prefix REALLY drops out); admixt gets dropped in favor of mix, and so forth. So it was that my eye fell upon, “admirize” and I assumed it was an early form of “admire.” But alas, foiled again! Admirize is actually a rare word meaning to wonder, coming from the French admirer. And I’m really wondering about their quote:

1702 LOGAN in Pa. Hist. Soc. Mem. IX. 108 Orders to proclaim the queen have arrived in Virginia..but none here, which makes many admirize.

Why didn’t they proclaim the Queen? What happened? Why were the so un-admissive (Characterized by admitting; tending to admit) of their monarch? I shall admove (To move to or towards; rare) Pennsylvania and demand they great their monarch with proper respect. If only Max had come through and invented that time machine so I could ad-time travel.

Get in line, Pennsylvania, before I continue to adnote (To note, remark, observe; rare obs) your failings!

In response to Dr. Hammerskjold’s list below, I feel I have to reciprocate with my own picks. At first glance, his (and my) choices are quite weak. Would we really want to reanimate any of these people to lead our glorious nation? The complicating factor, however, is that the vast majority of presidents were god awful. To fix that problem, I’ll do another column later wherein I make my picks from all presidential candidates, not just the winners. Alas, I do not make the rules.

1) Chester A. Arthur

chesterarthur.jpgPresident Arthur has the unfortunate distinction of falling right into the middle of the post Civil War 19th century, otherwise known as the “The Era of Wildly Ineffective Presidents with Funny Sounding Names That Nobody Ever Remembers.” If not for that, Arthur might be remembered as the good president that he was. Elected as Garfield’s vice president in 1880, he only assumed the presidency after his boss was murdered. Once in office, however enacted sweeping civil service reform, passed immigration legislation, and managed to remove much of the cronyism and corruption of the Grant years. Chester Arthur would be exactly the sort of leader we need today to clean the stink of Bush from Washington and rise above petty politics.

2) James Monroe

jamesmonroe.jpgIn terms of popularity and effectiveness, Monroe may be the greatest president in history. As a long time diplomat, Monroe was a foreign policy specialist who also benefited from having the best Secretary of State in history, John Quincy Adams. In these times of international troubles, we need a president who can chart a steady course and restore America’s prominence abroad. Furthemore, Monroe was able to maintain a general sense of unity domestically as he oversaw what is commonly referred to as the “Era of Good Feelings.” If there’s anyone who could see us safely out of Iraq, defuse Iran and North Korea, and solve the Darfur problem, it is the Monroe Administration.

3) Jimmy Carter

jimmycarter.jpgOften maligned was one of the more ineffective presidents in history, we think that Carter doesn’t really get a fair shake. For the most part, he was a victim of terrible luck. The gravest problem facing America for the foreseeable future is the growing energy crisis. Of all the presidents, Carter is the only one with any sort of positive track record on energy. The energy crisis during his administration was pretty much out of his control, but he passed effective legislation pushing necessary conservation. Furthermore, Carter has a strong record on foreign affairs, stressing human rights as a guiding principle. Another Carter Administration would get us out of Iraq and actually work towards defusing the Arab-Israeli conflict, as opposed to the dangerous Bush strategy of unilateral support for Israel. People like to use the hostage crisis against Carter, but at least his solution wasn’t to arm our Iranian enemies and negotiate with terrorists. All in all, there could not be a more tireless advocate of global peace.

The winner? Carter has a serious leg up since he is still alive, so that’s who I will go with.